Brad Keselowski breaks through for first NASCAR Cup Series win in 2024

Brad Keseolwski takes the checkered flag to win Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway. Photo by David Barks.

Three-man battle goes Keselowski’s way after Tyler Reddick, Chris Buescher knock each other out of contention

DARLINGTON, SC – Brad Keselowski has been knocking on the door.

Sunday, on Mother’s Day, it finally opened.

The co-owner of RFK (Rausch Fenway Keselowski) Racing, Keselowski won the NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway after a race-long battle with 23XI’s Tyler Reddick and his own teammate/employee Chris Buescher through 293 laps over the raceway’s 1.366-mile egg-shaped asphalt oval.

Brad Keselowski bows to the crowd as he holds an American Flag after winning Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway. Photo by David Barks.

“What a heck of a day. It’s Darlington, so whether it’s your first win, your last win, this is a really special track,” said Keselowski to the crowd after getting out of his car. “The history of NASCAR, (Darlington Raceway) it’s as tough as it gets, and that battle at the end with my teammate Tyler Reddick, we just laid it all out on the line, it was freaking awesome. I thought it couldn’t get much better than Kansas. It did today. That was awesome. I’m so glad you guys got to see that. That was incredible. Thanks for being here.”

It was also the first win of the year for a Ford Dark Horse Mustang, and locked Keselowski into the playoffs.

The 35th win of his Cup career, and second at Darlington, broke a 110-race winless streak. Keselowski last won at Talladega in April of 2021, when he was still racing for Team Penske.

But he’s been getting close – finishing second in back-to-back weeks at Texas and Talladega in April.

Reddick was having a dominant day.

He started from the pole, with Keselowski beside him on the front row, and Buescher right behind starting third. Ty Gibbs started fourth and was also in the mix all afternoon.

Reddick led a race-high 175 laps, including a stretch of 131 straight that included winning Stage 2 and continued well into Stage 3.

Ty Gibbs (54) and Josh Berry (4) finish second and third in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Darlington Raceway. Photo by David Barks.

Reddick held the lead for the first 38 laps, only giving it up during a series of green-flag pit stops.

After everyone cycled through, Gibbs held the top spot for 34 laps until Kyle Larson chased him down.

Larson kept it long enough to win Stage 1.

Keselowski had the better start to Stage 2, but his lead lasted just one lap before Reddick was back in front.

Reddick built a lead of more than four seconds before Keselowski and Buescher slowly began to reel him in, knocking a tenth of a second or more each ensuing lap.

On Lap 225, Keselowski won a three-man battle for the lead. He held it through a green-flag pit cycle.

On Lap 253, Kyle Larson, running sixth at the time, blew a left rear tire, hit the wall, and was done for the day – finishing in 34th place.

Reddick was back in first on the restart with Keselowski and Buescher right on his back bumper.

With 30 laps left, Keselowski pulled alongside Reddick, and the two battled head-to-head.

That gave Buescher an opening – he dove underneath the two, and grabbed the lead.

But Reddick refused to fold.

He stayed close to Buescher and made a stab at the lead with 10 laps to go.

That didn’t go well for either of them.

Brad Keselowski (rear) does his burnout with Tyler Reddick (front) heading to the pits after Keselowski won Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race. Photo by David Barks.

They banged tires, slicing one on each car – ending both driver’s chances for victory.

Buescher fell back to 30th and Reddick to 32nd.

The two had a heated discussion on pit road after the race.

“We got wrecked,” said Buescher. “That one’s clear as day. Don’t need any cameras to tell us. I don’t know what to say. We’ve raced really clean through the years, tried to be really respectful about it, and we get used up.

“It is just something that you know is not going to work. I’m just really pissed off about it right now. We certainly had a chance to win another one. I’m proud to have that speed. Just huge congratulations to Brad and the 6 bunch on their win. That’s awesome, but I wanted it for our group right here.”

“I know. I (screwed) up—I’m sorry,” said Reddick. “I completely understand where he is coming from. He was running the top, running his own race, running his own line to keep me at bay. I made a really aggressive move and was hoping I was going to clear him. When I realized I wasn’t going to, I tried to check up to not slide up into him, but, yeah, I wish I wouldn’t have done that. 

“I completely understand why he is that mad. He did nothing wrong. Just trying to win the race, and to take myself out — that’s one thing — I can live with that, but just disappointed it played out the way that it did, and I took him out of the race as well.”

Tyler Reddick (45) and Brad Keselowski (6) lead the field at the start of Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway. Keselowski won the race. Photo by David Barks.

That opened the door for Keselowski and he drove through – holding off Gibbs over the final nine laps to win by 1.214 seconds.

”My car was really good on the long runs,” said Keselowski. “When Tyler got underneath Chris, I knew I had another shot at it when they made contact. I couldn’t get by, and I’m like, ugh. Then they must have got a flat tire, I don’t know what happened, and we caught a break. We’ve caught enough bad breaks over the last year or two, it’s nice to catch a good one.”

Gibbs second second-place finish was the best of his short Cup Series career.

Josh Berry finished third, followed by Denny Hamlin, Chase Briscoe, William Byron, Bubba Wallace, Alex Bowman, Justin Haley, and Michael McDowell.

NASCAR Cup Series Race – Goodyear 400

Darlington Raceway

Darlington, South Carolina

Sunday, May 12, 2024

  1. (Started 2)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 293 laps completed.
  2. (4)  Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 293.
  3. (33)  Josh Berry #, Ford, 293.
  4. (7)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 293.
  5. (13)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, 293.
  6. (5)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 293.
  7. (8)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 293.
  8. (18)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 293.
  9. (28)  Justin Haley, Ford, 293.
  10. (16)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 293.
  11. (9)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 293.
  12. (31)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 293.
  13. (12)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 293.
  14. (36)  Noah Gragson, Ford, 293.
  15. (15)  Todd Gilliland, Ford, 293.
  16. (24)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 293.
  17. (26)  Ryan Preece, Ford, 293.
  18. (34)  Kaz Grala #, Ford, 293.
  19. (30)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 293.
  20. (25)  Austin Cindric, Ford, 293.
  21. (14)  Joey Logano, Ford, 293.
  22. (35)  Harrison Burton, Ford, 293.
  23. (20)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 293.
  24. (19)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 293.
  25. (10)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 293.
  26. (21)  Carson Hocevar #, Chevrolet, 293.
  27. (11)  Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 293.
  28. (23)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 293.
  29. (32)  Derek Kraus, Chevrolet, 292.
  30. (3)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 291.
  31. (22)  John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 291.
  32. (1)  Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 291.
  33. (29)  Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 290.
  34. (6)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 252.
  35. (27)  Zane Smith #, Chevrolet, Accident, 161.
  36. (17)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, DVP, 129.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  124.75 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 12 Mins, 30 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.214 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  6 for 38 laps.

Lead Changes:  16 among 10 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   T. Reddick 1-37;B. Wallace 38-43;R. Blaney 44;T. Gibbs 45-78;K. Larson 79-93;B. Keselowski 94;T. Reddick 95-225;B. Keselowski 226-237;W. Byron 238-239;D. Hamlin 240;C. Hocevar # 241-242;B. Keselowski 243-256;T. Reddick 257-261;B. Keselowski 262;T. Reddick 263;C. Buescher 264-284;B. Keselowski 285-293.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Tyler Reddick 4 times for 174 laps; Brad Keselowski 5 times for 37 laps; Ty Gibbs 1 time for 34 laps; Chris Buescher 1 time for 21 laps; Kyle Larson 1 time for 15 laps; Bubba Wallace 1 time for 6 laps; William Byron 1 time for 2 laps; Carson Hocevar # 1 time for 2 laps; Denny Hamlin 1 time for 1 lap; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 5,54,6,45,19,38,17,12,24,23

Stage #2 Top Ten: 45,6,54,22,5,24,17,11,23,1

Like our stories? Share them online.